Being a fan of maps and geography, I was excited to experience the slow transition between landscapes: green to yellow, yellow to Rocky Mountain brown. However, I was quick to learn that these are not transitions at all, but stark lines dividing ecosystems and American sub-cultures. The landscape is more like a quilt: beautiful and diverse patterns, roughly stitched together.
From the high prairie, Angie, Madge the Van, and I suddenly came upon the little-known canyons of western North Dakota. Theodore Roosevelt described these lands as “grad[ing] all the way from those that are almost rolling in character to those that are so fantastically broken in form and so bizarre in color as to seem hardly properly to belong to this earth.” Indeed, these lands were foreboding and fascinating—a perfect introduction to the west.